THE FRANK WARREN COLUMN
By Frank Warren
DANIEL DUBOIS GETS another chance to demonstrate just why he is top of the charts in the punching pecking order of young heavyweight contenders when he steps in with Kyotaro Fujimoto at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday night.
The WBO Asia Pacific champion is the latest in a line of opponents willing to see if they can withstand the bludgeoning force of nature that is young Daniel, just 22.
Sometimes people like to cast doubt on the credentials of big, young heavies, labelling them as hype jobs and suggesting that impressive statistics are due to being fed cannon fodder.
Well, let’s examine the records of Daniel last five opponents, including Fujimoto. Between them, before facing our man, they had suffered just seven defeats from a combined total of 86 fights – and former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu accounts for five of them.
Nathan Gorman and Ebenezer Tetteh were undefeated opponents, with Richard Lartey and Fujimoto having a single defeat on their card. They can all clearly punch a bit too, having 60 KOs between them.
Whoever goes in with Daniel is going to be right up against it if he connects with their chin. It doesn’t matter who they are.
Daniel’s ledger stands up to scrutiny and the fact he already has eight titles to his name is testament to this. On Saturday, the WBC have seen fit to award their Silver title to the fight alongside the WBO International title Daniel already holds and these belts are what really transforms top prospects into true contenders.
The last holder of the WBC Silver title was Dillian Whyte and he currently holds the No.1 spot in the rankings having made three defences of the belt. Another factor in drafting in Fujimoto is his high ranking with the WBA, the only governing body not to recognise Daniel in their top 15.
Victory on Saturday should address this oversight.
The heavyweight scene at full world championship level is a congested picture at the moment and going into 2020. Anthony Joshua is back in business and is now confronted by two mandatory challengers, while Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will be reacquainted in February and there will always remain the prospect of a third fight between the pair.
So while all this is playing out, our job with Daniel is to further his experience and get him the right fights that will result in him being awarded a mandatory position himself.
It is the right way to go because mandatory challenges do not include all the clauses and conditions of voluntary offers that are slanted so much in favour of the champion.
Daniel will take the big step up when he is good and ready – and on his own terms.
For now though, we should all just enjoy the thrilling ride and watch an exceptional talent evolve towards being a great champion.
Fujimoto, meanwhile, appears to have been talking a good game back in Japan and I am not sure whether we should be bringing along some bamboo for his accomplice, the Panda bear.
He is perhaps tapping into the national fervour for boxing in his homeland, where they have enjoyed considerable success of late, especially with Naoya Inoue. If he is the heavyweight equivalent of the great bantamweight then we will be in for quite a fight on Saturday.
One relatively late addition to the card that could well steal the show is the WBO middleweight shootout between our own Liam Williams and the American Alantez Fox. After just three fights at 160lbs, Liam is bidding to hit the No.1 spot with the WBO and the right to fight the champion Demetrius Andrade.
The British champion is backing himself and we are backing him by securing a fight that holds the key to a world title shot. Liam is in blistering form and one of the most explosive and exciting fighters in Britain, but he is now up against someone with the same ambitions as himself and something has got to give.
Don’t miss this one, or the super flyweight squabble between Sunny Edwards and Marcel Braithwaite with the British title at stake.
Sunny is right on course for a world title shot in 2020 following his impressive run against tough, predominantly Mexican opponents. He has finally got someone in Braithwaite who wants to challenge him on the home front and winning the belt previously held by his brother wasn’t an opportunity he was about to turn down.
We also have Tommy Fury finally back from his extended summer holidays and it will be good to see him go topless for the right reason for the first time since March following his romantic exploits on Love Island.
He may well have nearing three million followers on Instagram and the fourth most Googled individuals of the year, but Tommy is still a rookie in the pro game with a lot to live up to.
Our job with Tommy remains the same as with our other fighters, which is to build him in the right way and at the right pace. After all, this is not the fame game, it is the fight game.
Coverage from the Copper Box begins at 7pm on Saturday, live and exclusive on BT Sport